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Vol. XXXVIX No. 4  The HAPA News  March 6, 2017


Downtown Hayward Specific Plan

Design Charrette [little cart in French]: Tuesday, March 14-Saturday, March 18, City Hall, Hayward. I have been unable to find information on the City's website. We will send out more information when we get it to some, but not all, of you getting this News. If you are interested in downtown planning, be sure to log onto the City website before March 14. The charrette is scheduled to last 4-1/2 days to receive input on downtown issues from all and sundry.

Lincoln Landing

Lincoln Landing has been appealed by a labor union, the Union of Food and Commercial Workers, and is scheduled to be heard by Council April 27th. We will send an action alert when we are closer to the date.

Facing Up to Homelessness: Highlights

Dedicated to Delmo Della-Dora

Champion for equality; enthusiastic inspiring member of the Task Force to End Hunger and Homelessness;

Founding Chair of it's Food Access Committee, a strong supporter of the Hayward Homeless Count.

Background on the Study

The Hayward Task Force to End Hunger and Homelessness and California State University, East Bay, updated the homelessness survey in Hayward, expanding the County of Alameda Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness. A questionnaire was designed and tested by in-depth interviews with homeless people, hearing their stories. This version is greatly condensed but will be spread out into two parts for ease of reading.

Credits: City of Hayward, CSUEB, Chabot College, League of Women Voters of the Eden Area, Mandela Marketplace. Salvation Army and a long list of 174 supporters and volunteer data collections.

Prinicpal Authors:

Dr. Stacy Wilson, Department of Public Affairs and Administration, CSUEB

Leone Rodriguez, former Assistant Vice President, Institutional Research CSUEB

Key Findings of the November 2015 Homeless Count in Hayward, California

  • In November 2015, volunteers interviewed homeless persons at 31 sites around Hayward. They found about 400 homeless persons and persons at immediate risk of homelessness, constituting about 0.25% of Hayward's population. About 90% considered Hayward their home.
  • Respondents slept an average 25 days in an outdoor area; 21 days in an emergency shelter or transitional housing; 9 days in a motel; and 8 days with friends or relatives.
  • About 55% of the respondents are men.
  • Ages 0-17 was 24%; 18-30 was 10%; 31-54 was 41%; 55 and older was 25% that made up the homeless in Hayward.
  • For family status, 48% were single; 29% were divorced or separated; 15% were married or had long term partners; 8% were widows.
  • Families with children: about 40. A third were house surfing with friends or relatives; 26% were residing in a shelter or transitional housing. 5 families with children were in a park, sidewalk, condemned building, or car (note that 24% of homeless were under age 17, and that most families with children are headed by single parents).
  • Living in Hayward prior to homelessness 70%
  • Race: 18% were African-American; 35% were Hispanic; 36% were other white; and 21% were all other.

"My life has become more positive due to active membership in a Hayward church which provides me with meals and social support and through which I have obtained a new job. But I might leave Hayward due to the cost of rent here. I would like to stay here where my friends, family and church are located. I feel that I could help others in Hayward and be with my church"

  • Veterans: 25 respondents; about half with combat experience. 24% of veterans with and without combat experience had suicidal thoughts compared to 20% for non-veterans
  • Foster Care: 38 respondents had been in foster care: 15 White, 8 Multi-racial, 6 Hispanic/Latino, 5 African American, 1 Native American, and 3 self- identified as "Other" ethnicity.
  • Education: 26% did not graduate from high school, 30% received a high school diploma or a GED, 23% had some college experience, 21% earned a two-yeardegree or higher; 48% of Hispanics, 15% of African Americans, and 23% of Whites did not graduate from high school.

Reasons for Homelessness in Hayward

1. Income too low to meet needs 109   7. Loss of loved ones 39
2. Can't find affordable living spaces 106   8. Family disputes 34
3. Job loss 101   9. Addiction 33
4. Mental health, PTSD 64   10. Domestic violence 26
5. Depleted Savings 56   11. Divorce 12
6. Can't work due to health 48   12. Home Foreclosure 9

Note: This adds to 637 due to single respondents with more than one reason. Some smaller answers were also left out.

Low Income

Of the 267 respondents who provided information about income, 80 (30%) had income from Social Security, Social Security Disability, and Private Disability Insurance. 60 provided monthly amounts, mostly between $700 and $1,099 a month.

Another frequent source of income (44 respondents) was income from a full or part-time job, ten of whom indicated an income of $2,000 or more a month from work.

"My greatest challenge is the high cost of rent. It is hard to find a place with children. I can't afford more than one bedroom and people will not rent a one-bedroom apartment to someone with two children."

From 1990 to 2015, Hayward's population increased by 42%, from 111,498 to 158,289. From 1990 to 2014, Hayward's median household income increased by 74%. The median household income in Hayward in 2014 was $62,691, compared to $73,775 for the county as a whole.

The poverty rate in Hayward increased over the past two decades, from 10% in 1990 to 15% by 2014. The unemployment rate increased from 4% in 1990 to 15% in 2010 due to the Great Recession, and then decreased to 8% in 2015.

Unaffordable Housing

According to the 2015 U.S. Census, 14.5% of Hayward's population was living at or below the federal poverty limit. In early 2016, the vacancy rate for all rental housing in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward region was low, 3.7%.

Hayward has 21,430 rental housing units and 29 apartment complexes with affordable housing. There are 736 units for seniors and disabled and 1,279 for families.

To qualify to live in an "income restricted" unit through government subsidies and regulations, the household income must be under certain limits. Depending on the program, a household must be "Low Income" (80% of area median income), "Very Low Income" (50%), or "Extremely Low Income" (30%). Resident incomes may rise above the limit, but they can keep living there; there is no requirement that they move out of the affordable unit.

175 respondents could pay rent if more affordable. Of those, 101 respondents could contribute between $500 and $1,100 per month.

"I am a 57-year-old man. I had permanent housing, but then I lost my job because the company I worked for shut down. I have been couch surfing, going from one friend's house to another. I would like to stay in Hayward, but rent prices have gotten more expensive."

According to the California Housing Partnership Corporation, 91% of "Very Low Income" renters pay over 30% of their incomes for rent, and 36% pay more than half of their incomes for rent.

Reasons for Unemployment

"If you do not have a steady job, what prevents you from maintaining employment?"
Cause of Current Unemployment Responses Percent
Physical health 78 29%
Other issues 67 25%
Mental health 65 24%
Need training 35 13%
Not applicable. I have a steady job. 28 11%
Nothing available in my field. 25 9%
History of incarceration 21 8%
I prefer not to work 11 4%
Immigration status 8 3%

Note: This adds to 127% due to people having selected multiple reasons.

Also, some indicated that it was their age or that they were retired. Others reported that they were providing care for their children or taking care of an elderly mother. Some were doing odd jobs or had occasional employment with a firm. Several reported that it is hard to find a job. One said he does look for and apply for jobs but does not get a call back. Another cited transportation as an issue. One cited a lack of education, and one said he could not read or write.

Poor Health Prevents Work

Almost half of the respondents reported pain in the back, neck or joints and over one-third indicated dental problems. More than one in every five reported conditions related to significant weight gain or loss, foot problems, vision or hearing problems, frequent headaches, high blood pressure, or breathing problems.

The graph below are responses to the question, "Please indicate any physical health conditions you or any family memvers have experienced while being without permanent housing."

Physical Health Condition Response Percent
Pain of stiffness in back, neck or joints 121 46%
Dental problems 95 36%
Significant weight gain or weight loss 67 25%
Foot problems 65 24%
Vision or hearing problems 65 24%
Frequent headaches 61 23%
High blood pressure 58 22%
Breathing problems 56 21%
Drug or alcohol addiction or other substance abuse 46 17%
Heart problems 39 15%
Digestive or urinary symptoms 37 14%
Diabetes 34 13%
Other infections or physical health problems 34 13%
No conditions 33 12%
Hepatitis 15 6%
Cancer 13 5%
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 2 1%

Note: This adds up to 315% due to people having selected multiple reasons.

"I am a single woman unemployed for the second time. I have been unable to work since May 2015 due to upcoming surgery. Declining health issues decreased my income, and the lack of money to provide for basic needs and housing is causing me to be depressed, as I have no idea what I am going to do or where I am going to live."

Addiction, Mental Health and PTSD

Of 267 respondents, 87% had experienced emotional or mental problems while homeless, most-frequently depression (61%). Other problems were panic attacks, nervousness, anger, resentment, uneasiness in crowds or open spaces, suspiciousness, delusions, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Daily Activities

Working, searching for work, and collecting recyclables were an important part of a typical week for many respondents; 44 respondents had permanent full-time or part-time jobs; some panhandled. Some respondents spent time with friends or family. Many spent time seeking services at local agencies, organizations, and medical and church facilities. Some go to a public library and take a nap or read a newspaper. They go to local parks, attend movies, ride bicycles, and do volunteer work.

"I try to collect bottles and cans and then recycle them to make a little bit of money. I use the money to purchase gas for my car where I sleep. I am aware of some shelters but am not sure how safe they are."

Challenges and Obstacles

Many respondents were worried about their personal safety, which is why many choose to sleep in areas with other individuals with similar life circumstances, thereby looking out for each other. Intimate, permanent relationships are desirable, but are admittedly difficult to establish and maintain. Other challenges include locating a place to charge a cell phone washing clothing; locating a place to stay warm and dry on cold or rainy days.

Student Homelessness

The Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) provides support for homeless and at-risk students, in accordance with the federal McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act. HUSD identifies homeless children and youth as those "who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." During the 2014-15 school year, 662 students were homeless: 61 in temporary shelters, 25 in motels/hotels, 558 temporarily doubled-up with friends/relatives, and 18 unsheltered.

In Hayward, the Alameda County Office of Education runs the Community Day School, which enrolls middle and high school age students who have been expelled from the local school district. During the 2014-2015 school year three students at the Community Day School were identified as homeless. One student was living in a hotel or motel and two were temporarily doubled up. Annual average attendance at the Community Day School is between 45 and 80 students.

There are 460,000 students throughout the California State University System (CSU) and about one in ten of them is homeless according to a January 2016 study.

"I go to local community centers and play ping pong, sometimes, and sometimes play basketball with others near a playground on the weekend. I like the farmer's market where sometimes the vendors are nice and give me free food. I go to the library to hang out, read books, sleep, and charge my cell phone."

Sleeping in Cars

It's illegal. City of Hayward Municipal Code: SEC. 5-7.20 PUBLIC NUISANCE: "…The existence of any of the following condition on the property is hereby declare to detrimental to public health, safety, or general welfare and thus constitutes a public nuisance, including, but not limited to: … w. Sleeping or living in any vehicle." [It happens anyway. Names have been changed.]

John and Susan live in a van with their 7-year-old son and 8-month-old baby. A few months ago, both were working and living in small apartment in Hayward. The apartment was overrun with cockroaches. Nothing they could do seemed to make any difference. Worried about the health of the children, they contacted the property owner but the only response they got was an eviction notice. Their English is limited and they had no idea of their tenant rights. They moved into the van. Susan had to quit her job to care for the children in this newsituation. Now they have an eviction on their record and only one income. John takes whatever secondary "cash" jobs he can find in addition to his 40 hour per week job, but the next apartment is going to be hard to find.

Mary rented the same little house in Hayward for 15 years. When she had to move because the owners decided to sell the place she found she did not have enough money to rent even a studio apartment. Her car was all she had so she moved in. She doesn't see too well and was worried about driving so she hired a young man she knew who was also homeless to live in the car with her and drive her where she needs to go. She pays him, her auto insurance, and feeds both of them on her Social Security check.

Service Providers

Eden I & R (Eden Information and Referral)

211 is a three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to provide quick and easy information about health and human services. Locally, Eden I&R operates the service. In 2015, calls from Hayward averaged 936 per month. Eden I&R made about 1,800 referrals for services. The majority of referrals were for housing or shelter; 9% or fewer asked about libraries and the internet, legal services, food programs, public assistance programs, individual and family support services, utilities, substance abuse services, material goods, and mental health treatment.

"I am a male facing several challenges that I am attempting to overcome: depression, back issues, lack of social skills, and obesity. The lack of permanent housing and employment has prevented me from overcoming those challenges and has resulted in increased weight. Depression prohibits me from engaging in relationships."

Emergency Shelters, Transitional Housing, and Supportive Services

Hayward has emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive services.

  • The Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) operates a 22-bed emergency shelter for families with children under age 18 and a transitional housing facility.
  • Ruby’s Place is a 42-bed shelter for women with or without minor children.
    Magnolia House provides shelter for pregnant and postnatal women.
  • There are two winter shelter sites with 45 beds that open for specific weather conditions for single men and women.
  • There are transitional and permanent board and care, and sober living facilities for individuals with mental health or other disabilities and/or substance abuse issues.

An accurate number of facilities is difficult to determine, as some are unlicensed and do not report to a centralized system such as the County/ National Homeless Management Information System database. South Hayward Parish provides food and a variety of services to about 40 homeless individuals per month, about 250 annually.

Government Funding

Most social service funding comes from Alameda County for direct services and hundreds of community service organizations, many relevant for helping the homeless. The City of Hayward budgeted $221,000 from July 2016 to June 2017 for homelessness services: legal services, food, job training and referrals, domestic violence supportive services, and tenant-landlord counseling services.Other funding helps with rent for foster care. Additional city staff costs include responding to requests for service; Police Youth and Family Services work with families on a broad array of issues; the Maintenance Services Department cleaned out 46 homeless encampments amounting to 460 cubic yards of material and debris during fiscal year 2015-16.

Comments by Sherman Lewis

This is by far the best report on homelessness in Hayward and probably one of the best in the country, made possible by so many people in Hayward who have community spirit and get along for the greater good. This report has highlights from a 110 page report; anyone with more interest should look at the report, especially Appendixes B and F. The best generalization is that one cannot generalize about homelessness; it is a common symptom of a host of problems.

Next steps I would like to see are categorization into major types of need and a discussion of process and system integration. The types of need I see are:

  • Families with children and anyone under 18. No family with children or lone juveniles should be homeless for more than a few days. We know how to provide shelter, transitional housing, services, foster care, and youth homes to meet all needs. We're doing a lot, but we need to do enough to have no waiting lists.
  • Help people at risk of homelessness to manage crises due to foreclosures, evictions, job loss, health events, etc. that can suddenly cause homelessness. These are people who can move up and out.
  • Help people after they become homeless as soon as they are noticed, leading to an intake process that evaluates comprehensively their needs and all the steps needed to help get them back of track short term. Such people have shown they can function before the crisis but need extra help for housing, services, finding a job, etc. These are also people who can move up and out. A few will have longer term problems.
  • Provide general stop gap services: Transportation for going to crisis, vocational, or medical appointments. Provide places to store some belongings, get mail, clean their clothes, recharge cell phone, bathrooms, showers, care for pets, meetings. Enable people to sleep safely in cars when no other options are available.
  • Assist those people unable to work: disabled, elderly, health problems, substance abuse and dependency. They need shelter and qualification for SSI and other welfare incomes, which requires diligent case workers.
  • Evaluate long term homeless not helped by the above. Performance criteria need to be based on experience, not idealistic ideas about the people, some of whom cannot function well. It is not clear to me what can be done for some persistently homeless people.

Process and system integration means the process by which homeless become known to a case manager in social services, who then has the system evaluate the problems and services needed. System integration requires that the many and various service providers automatically share case files and that the case manager makes sure that various services are coordinated and needs are met. It requires a centralized county resource office to coordinate services, integrated with other County social services. Process requires staff to develop realistic performance criteria, evaluate performance by agencies, and act to fix poor performance. Much of this is being done to some extent; however it often is cumbersome, time-consuming, and requires considerable time to fill out the paperwork and secure the necessary permission to release client information.

Breaking News

"Any day now, the project developer, Dollinger Properties of Redwood City, may proceed with demolition of the former Mervyn's Headquarters building, which in recent years has come to be inhabited by a population of approximately three to four dozen homeless men and women." –Kelly McAdoo, City Manager, 2/24/17

Sherman Lewis, President
Hayward Area Planning Association
contact us
2787 Hillcrest Ave. Hayward CA 94542